A common misconception about the construction industry is that it is full of low-skill and low-pay jobs for blue-collar workers. In fact, commercial construction is a highly professional field, and individuals from all types of backgrounds are needed to complete projects successfully. The vast majority of construction jobs require quite a bit of skill and training, and even those with years of experience find they are constantly learning new things as they move from project to project. Those looking to enter the industry, will find many different construction jobs to choose from, with something for every interest and skill level.
Every construction job starts with a design team made up of architects and engineers. These professionals work with owners and developers to create a set of building plans that are used to construct the project. Architects and engineers must consider building codes, safety, constructibility, and the intended function of the space when developing their designs. After the plans are complete, the design team is still heavily involved in construction. They take part in job site meetings, conduct inspections, and generally manage the project's administration until the building is complete.
For other professional construction jobs, consider opportunities offered by general contractors. These companies take on the responsibility for a project's construction from start to finish. They employ project managers and project engineers, who develop budgets, update schedules, and coordinate the various tradesmen involved in the project. These individuals may work on site with a superintendent, who manages the day to day field operations, and typically works out of a temporary office or trailer. While project managers usually have engineering or construction degrees, superintendents often work their way up through the trades, and don't typically need formal degrees.
Those looking for more hands-on construction jobs may want to pursue work with a subcontracting company. These companies are hired by general contractors to perform the physical work on the job site. Subcontracting companies range from painters to electricians to masons, and require employees of many different skill levels. The teams provided by these companies typically include a foreman, who manages the other workers, handles paperwork, and often performs specialty tasks. The balance of the team is made up of other workers, ranging from unskilled laborers and assistants to highly trained technicians.
Finally, those interested in construction jobs can look for work as building inspectors. These professionals generally work for municipal agencies and are responsible for reviewing drawings, issuing permits, and inspecting the job for safety and code compliance. The building inspector also has the responsibility of issuing a Final Use & Occupancy certificate, which states that construction has been completed satisfactorily and the building is ready for public use. Inspectors may also work for organizations like the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), which protects the safety and welfare of all employees.